Perfect B&W for iPad and iPhone review - create stylish monochrome images with ease
We particularly liked the 'Ansel' Preset, which made our house look as if Mr Adams himself had popped round for a landscape shot.
onOne Software has nice line in desktop image-editing applications, but Perfect B&W represents the first time the company has ported one of them into the mobile space. It's a simple to use photography app at that - you just take pictures on an iPad or iPhone using the in-app camera or choose an image from your existing Camera Roll. The colour is instantly bleached away, leaving a monochrome image for you to start adding your artistic flourishes. Like most image editing software these days, the process is non-destructive; even photos snapped with the in-app camera are saved as an original colour image in your Camera Roll. It takes advantage of the iOS camera tools, such as Auto Flash, AE/AF Lock, volume button shutter release, and both the standard and front-facing cameras. There's a choice of single shot or continuous shooting modes, with the latter being useful if you want to capture a sequence or fast moving action shots.
The real fun begins with the range of artistic Presets which are arranged in a bar for quick one-tap selection- this is automatically loaded so the app will instantly apply the preset to each new image. There are eighteen of these presets mimicking classic black-and-white photo techniques and toning processes. Presets range from the pin-sharp HDR for a high dynamic range to Pinhole, which applies a bit of instant Victorian melodrama to your images. There are settings that replicate the increasing grain of 400 and 800 ASA film as well as copper, cyan and sepia toning processes. One thing to note is that the presets match ones also found in the desktop version of Perfect B&W, making it easy for users of both products to get the same styling. You have the ability to save presets, which is always good. The Options section is where you can fine tune these presets.There are slider controls for contrast as well as for adding detail which apply to the whole image, while options such as brightness, soft focus, toner and grain let you choose from a variety of sub-options. The Filters option is quite subtle and the Vignette is a bit limited, but the Borders option is spot on for applying quick frames.
Perfect B&W offers a small range of adjustments, framing and compositional tools to personalise the Preset looks
The Live Preview is another useful feature, as it helps you to compose the scene and try out various looks. More useful still is the Rule of Thirds grid, which when activated, displays a 3x3 grid on your screen while you’re shooting, so you can align your shot and create the right composition. The save facility is also mobile-friendly, allowing you to send the converted images to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or email contacts as well as saving them to the Camera Roll.
There are plenty of photo manipulation apps on the market, but for getting arty with monochrome images, especially with one-click looks, this one is great. Precision tools among the Options would be interesting, but at this price it's hard to compare the App with more powerful features present in desktop image-editing software.